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PHILADELPHIA-In unrelated transactions, Cira Centre inks a long-term lease for 8,500 sf with BlackRock Financial Management, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania sells the Balch Building at 18 South 7th St. The BlackRock lease represents a return to the city by PNC Bank’s asset management affiliate, which relocated to Wilmington, DE several years ago.

The 28-story, 727,000-sf Cira Centre is currently under construction adjacent to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station in University City. The developer, Plymouth Meeting-based Brandywine Realty Trust, expects the project to reach completion in fourth quarter 2005. It contains 690,000 sf of office space and 37,000 sf of conference and retail space. Lease terms are undisclosed, but area brokers tell GlobeSt.com the rental rate for Cira Centre is running in the high $20s per sf.

Among the reasons for BlackRock’s move was University City’s high concentration of growing biomedical and technology companies and the building’s proximity to 30th Street Station, which provides quick access to clients along the eastern seaboard in general and New York’s financial markets in particular. Gerard H. Sweeney, Brandywine’s president and CEO, says, “This is a great win for Philadelphia that one of its former tenants is returning to re-invest in the city.”

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Management, a locally based real estate development company, acquired the 75,000-sf Balch Building from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Binswanger/CBB, also based here, represented the seller in concert with the local office of Jones Lang LaSalle. Neither the price nor plans for the property were disclosed. After merging with the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in 2002, the Society no longer needed the building.

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